My devotion to the Divine Mercy Chaplet goes back to my early days of Catholicism, when it was included on the CD from Catholicity that I used to learn the rosary.
For one thing, it was quick. And unlike the rosary, that had me fumbling and mumbling, the Divine Mercy Chaplet rolled off my tongue.
I forgot about it for awhile, until the novena before Divine Mercy Sunday would roll around each year, or until I’d have a special request or a special set of stressors.
Then, a few years ago, I found the sung version. All of a sudden, it became easier to pray, part of my iPod experience. I started listening to it before I listened to my daily dose of podcasts.
It changed my approach to my days. I had always struggled with patience and calmness (not naturally possessing either), but I found that by injecting my mornings with this song-prayer, I was playing offense.
There were mornings, driving my oldest to preschool, feeling pressure to be on time and to get to work and to balance my checkbook, that the words would wash over me and literally stop my mind in its tracks.
Forgive me if I’m making it sound magical or mystical. It’s not magic. It’s not mysticism. It is prayer that’s unlike any other prayer for me (though very similar to my experience with the sung rosary).
One particular day, as I had the music for the Divine Mercy Chaplet blaring out during my shower, I was interrupted by a four-year-old wanting to play the “Anything Game.” (This was a guessing game, where we took turns giving each other clues and guessing. We played it all.the.time, and she was pretty good at actually stumping me.) Hearing her sincere belting out of the song, punctuated by “Mom, your turn!” made me smile.
It also made me think about how Mary must have used prayer in her daily life. I’m pretty sure she had a fair share of stress in her life. Life back in those days was hard in a way few of us can appreciate. She wasn’t rich, and she didn’t have the luxury of sitting down for a few minutes of “Me Time.”
I wonder, though, how prayer played a part in Mary’s life, how conversation with God — both the talking and the listening — worked in her life. When she woke up to the silent house, everyone else still barely asleep, did she share those precious still moments with God? As she scrubbed, did she silence herself and wait for the small Voice to pierce through the activity? As she prepared food, did she laughingly recount Jesus’ latest antics to His Father? Before collapsing at night on her bed, did she offer a thankful Psalm of praise?
The Divine Mercy Chaplet has taught me a lot about Mary. As I contemplate the words in their cycle, I see her as a guide to understanding God’s infinite mercy. The words become a way to keep my restless self busy as my mind delves deeper into the idea of how much God must really love me. He gave His Son; His Son said yes to the Cross.
Though the language feels old-fashioned, at first, it also reminds me of the timelessness of God. Though it always feels like I don’t have time, like I can skip it just this once, like I can save it for later, I need the daily reminder of God’s mercy and love.
With so much wrong in the world, the Divine Mercy Chaplet anchors me in hope, with Mary guiding me to a deeper understanding of her Son.
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